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close this bookThe Improvement of Tropical and Subtropical Rangelands (BOSTID)
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View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentPanel on the improvement of tropical and subtropical rangelands
View the documentContributors
View the documentNational research council staff
View the documentPreface
close this folderOverview: Dimensions of a worldwide environmental crisis
View the documentThe geographical scope
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close this folderPart I
close this folderIntroduction
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close this folderThe nature of tropical and subtropical rangelands
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View the documentRange classification
View the documentSocial system-ecosystem interactions
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close this folderThe social context for rangeland improvement
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View the documentProduction systems in tropical and subtropical regions
View the documentContext of environmental degradation
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close this folderThe economic context
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View the documentRange systems
View the documentThe basis of range economics
View the documentProject analysis
View the documentDetermining costs and benefits
View the documentResource evaluation
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close this folderRegional resource assessment
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View the documentInformation needs
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close this folderSite evaluation
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View the documentAn ecosystem perspective
View the documentA systems approach to site evaluation
View the documentEvaluation of abiotic and biotic components
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close this folderGrazing management
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View the documentGrazing management concepts
View the documentTime of grazing
View the documentDistribution of grazing
View the documentType of animal grazing
View the documentNumber of animals grazing
View the documentGrazing management planning
View the documentGrazing management systems
View the documentLivestock management
View the documentThe herima system in Mali
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close this folderRehabilitation techniques
View the documentEstablishing plants on the range
View the documentNatural revegetation
View the documentDirect seeding
View the documentImprovement of tropical and subtropical rangelands
View the documentSelected practices
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close this folderCriteria for plant selection
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View the documentSocioeconomic and management considerations in feasibility studies
View the documentAdaptation to ecoclimatic conditions
View the documentAdaptation to soils
View the documentAdaptation to physiography, geomorphology, topography, slope, and aspect
View the documentAbility of introduced species to compete with native vegetation
View the documentUse regimes
View the documentAvailability of seeds and plant materials
View the documentMaintenance of biological diversity
View the documentPlant improvement
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close this folderPart II
View the documentIntroduction to the case studies
close this folderPastoral regimes of Mauritania
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View the documentPhysical geography
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close this folderThe Beni Mguild of Morocco
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close this folderThe Kel Tamasheq
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close this folderDromedary pastoralism in Africa and Arabia
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View the documentSubsistence production
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View the documentPredatory pastoralism
View the documentThe future of camel pastoralism
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close this folderThe mountain nomads of Iran: Basseri and Bakhtiari
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View the documentThe physical environment
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close this folderThe Marri Baluch of Pakistan
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close this folderChanging patterns of resource use in the Bedthi-Aghanashini valleys of Karnataka state, India
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View the documentTraditional patterns of resource management
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close this folderKenya: Seeking remedies for desert encroachment
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View the documentTraditional pastoralism
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View the documentVegetation and livestock
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close this folderThe hema system in the Arabian peninsula
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View the documentRights of ownership or use
View the documentThe hema system in Saudi Arabia
View the documentThe mahmia or marah, and the koze system in Syria
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View the documentHema in the range improvement and conservation programs in the near east
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close this folderWildlife land use at the Athi River, Kenya
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close this folderCamel husbandry in Kenya: Increasing the productivity of ranchland
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View the documentLocation
View the documentVegetation
View the documentLivestock
View the documentIntroduction of camels
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close this folderThe potential of faidherbia albida for desertification control and increased productivity in Chad
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View the documentImproving Nigeria's animal feed resources: Pastoralists and scientists cooperate in fodder bank research
close this folderBoard on science technology for international development
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Resource evaluation

Evaluating the quality and adequacy of various resources for possible alternative uses is the first step in project planning. The climate and characteristics of land and soils, water supply (whether for irrigation, livestock, or domestic use), and incidence of weedy types of vegetation, insect pests, and plant or animal diseases should all be considered. The objectives of the evaluation process are to determine the forage and livestock enterprises that may be feasible and whether some alternatives can be ruled infeasible without further evaluation. These factors are described in more detail in chapters 4 and 5.

Location of the project and access to markets both for sale of products and for purchase of necessary supplies is another key consideration for determining feasibility. The location, climate, land, and water supply factors are often fixed. It is impossible, or at least difficult and often costly, to modify these factors. Water supply can sometimes be augmented by drilling wells or creating storage; however, the ecological consequences must be considered.

Human resources are the most difficult to assess. Most projects rely on organizations of pastoralists. Important questions to address are the following: Will the existing organizations be used, or will a new organization be established? What should be the size of the organization? How complex will be the functional specialization and what type of membership (inclusive versus exclusive, voluntary versus forced) is expected?

A new organization can only be established at a cost. Because of low population densities associated with arid rangeland, communication between members is difficult. Difficulties in decision making, therefore, increase as group size increases. For the same reason (lack of opportunity to communicate), there are limits to functional specialization.

Sanford (1983) emphasizes that the "costs" of project organization are often underestimated if not overlooked altogether. A first step to the evaluation of human resources is a good understanding of the existing social organization.

Data Needs and Sources

Data required for cost and benefit evaluation, frequently called "input-output" data, include: herbage or animal production or possible alternatives; physical quantities of inputs used, whether a product is produced or purchased; prices for inputs; and prices for output to be sold.

The principal sources of physical input-output data for projects may include well-trained professionals with technical expertise in the area, data from other projects of a similar type and under similar conditions, people from the locality with good knowledge of the area and what might be expected, and data from controlled experiments.

Preliminary experiments are very important sources of data for technical specialists who must make judgments about the productivity of resources in new projects. The preliminary experiments do not yield perfect or reproducible results, particularly when applied to international projects of an agricultural nature where factors such as weather, variability in inputs, and the performance of the field crew typically are incompletely controlled. Situations in developing countries lead to what might be called “the experimental gap" between the yields that are obtained on the experimental plots and those likely to be achieved on projects. The technical specialists must attempt to estimate the extent of experimental gap and the extent of adjustment or correction. Farming systems research is attempting to narrow this gap.

In general, local data are most useful for ascertaining the response to different treatments or the change in output resulting from a change in level of the inputs.

Farmers or pastoralists may be the best source of information on crop or vegetation and animal performance, requirements for labor, materials, machinery use, feed requirements, and so on. Information collected locally by survey procedures can be used to establish benchmarks for current enterprise combinations and production practices, and to obtain crop and livestock labor requirements and machine use levels for operations of different sizes.